The Process and The Recipe – In-Depth Post #6

After a much needed break and “chill time” in my recipe, I’m back to continue in this endeavour. In fact, I reunited myself with the baking processes almost instantly upon my return from vacation. The day after I arrived home I had a meeting with my mentor. As my mentor didn’t have any orders or specific dishes to make, she had chosen some new and unique treats for us to try. We had an action-packed afternoon of baking wherein we made three different recipes.

We alternated throughout the session between a chocolate zucchini cake, some cranberry scones, and then finished with some Belgian waffles. I didn’t get a picture of the waffles, but they were delicious, however, I did snap a few shots of some of the zucchini cake and a few of the scones after bringing them back from my mentor.

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I apologize for the the zucchini cake being slightly chopped up. We were very eager to get a taste and then realized I should take a photo first!

As you can see, on the zucchini cake we added a sprinkling of icing sugar to give it some sweetness, and on the scones, we first coated the tops with melted butter and then sprinkled them with regular white sugar for some additional flavour.

I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy the chocolate zucchini cake as I am not sure if I have even had zucchini before this, but my mentor, as after every completed recipe, insisted I try some, and to my slight surprise, it was extremely good! Then again, why should I be surprised, my mentor is an outrageous baker, anything she touches is delicious. I found that the cake tasted a lot like banana loaf: not extremely sweet, but very satisfying.

As for the scones, they were also very good. Unlike the zucchini though, I have had countless scones before, and of different types. The sugar on the top added a nice touch, and when some butter is added to freshly cut open insides of the scone, it collapses into your mouth very tastily.

Set aside all of this baking, the reason I chose the title “The Process and The Recipe” for this post, was because of the Edward de Bono topics for this reporting period. This post’s topics are ‘Concepts’, and ‘Alternatives’. I thought these fit very well into recipes and process as there are always key skills, or concepts, that must be done correctly for the recipe to turn out well and there are always multiple variations, or alternatives, to which the recipe can be completed or changed.

Listed below are some examples of some concepts my mentor and I have used, talked about, or worked on in my recent sessions. In addition, I have listed, beside the concept, a couple examples of ‘Practical Ideas’ of the concept. De Bono has said “Concepts are the parents of practical ideas” :

– Mixing: whisking, stirring, mixing(mixer)

-Sweetening: adding sugar, using milk in replacement of water(richening)

– Melting: microwave, room temperature, stove

– Non-sticking: greasing, flour, vegetable oil spray

– Molding: cutting, kneading, rolling

As you can see from these examples of some baking concepts, they flow naturally into the theory of alternatives. De Bono explains how alternatives allow one to grow upon the basic skills or task and go deeper into it. He also talks of how alternatives are for both the future(action), present, and past(perception). I found this statement very interesting as it shows how our chosen route can govern all aspects of our life, whatever that route may be.

As you can see, all of the different ideas listed above are alternatives of each other. My mentor has both shown and told me of various ways of doing things when baking. One particular alternative that stuck out to me as very valuable and interesting was her alternative of using milk in store-bought cake recipes instead of water. She told me how this would make the cake seem fresher and not like it was made from a box. She expanded further by telling me that I could use this alternative for any recipe and it would have the same effect.

Further, as I discussed in a previous post, she recently gave me many useful combinations, or mixtures, on how to make different ingredients that are often found in recipes so that I don’t have to buy them from the store. One of these was making self-rising flour out of other common ingredients.

The most important alternative, and the truth of a baker’s love for baking, is that most treats, desserts, along with many other foods you see in stores, can be made by hand, by yourself. My mentor, of course, has shared this with me multiple times and this past session joked about how she had seen scones in the store and how expensive they were, and thought to herself, “you know, it’s not that hard to make those”.

Well that’s all for now. I hope all of you had just as relaxing and enjoyable break as I did and I look forward to what the future holds in the closing chapter of my first high school year, and this baking endeavour!

A Busy Baker – In-Depth Post #5

It has been a busy week for me in the world of baking(and many other aspects too actually)! It started off with some volunteer work for a poetry and music event, Slam Jam,  that was held by my classmates this past Tuesday, The event raised over $900 dollars that is all going towards Covenant House in Vancouver. Upon request for volunteer bakers, I took the opportunity to get some extra practice in and try out some of the skills I have been learning with my mentor. I spent a very long time on what was originally going to be shortbread, brownies, and cookies, but turned out as just shortbread. I ran out of time mainly because I was putting in so much effort towards making all my baked goods turn out just right.

I also ran into a couple of problems throughout my baking. I considered calling my mentor for assistance but I managed to problem solve and find a way to make them work. The main issue I encountered was that I put the dough in the fridge for too long. This caused it to harden up far too much to be rolled out and thus forcing me to wait until it was warm enough to do so.

Once I began rolling the dough out and working it, it became much easier to work with and warmed up significantly. I also ended up getting largely more cookies out of the dough than I had expected so it partially made up for what I did not have time to make. The cookies turned out great and I decided to go with a light purple frosting to test out my piping skills. I contacted Jamie, a Slam Jam committee member to confirm the theme colours. Then, I had some fun!

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I present to you, my Slam Jam masterpieces!

I was very proud of my cookies, especially because I made a couple customized ones with Slam Jam and SJ on them special for the event. There are still a couple areas I could improve on slightly in my piping but overall I felt that they turned out very well!

Next on the menu, I went to visit my mentor! This time it was the patience for pastry as the main course. However, we also made some delicious chocolate and graham wafer squares(unlike the chocolate pudding cream puffs, some of these still remain, hidden in the fridge). As noted, my mentor showed me how to make cream puffs, which we filled with a simple chocolate pudding. However, she explained to me that as cream puffs don’t have sugar in them, and do have eggs, they can really be filled with any type of food. From dinner, to snacks, to lunch, breakfast, and especially dessert, these little guys can satisfy any mood of a dish. Actually, as I just went to check to take a picture of some of the graham squares, it looks like they’ve disappeared too! Hmm, I guess I have to move really fast to document everything in this project.

During my mentor session, I was able to record a short portion of our conversation. The part that I have transcribed below is from a discussion about the cookbook housing the recipe for our cream puffs. This portion of conversation is not, unfortunately, from while we are actually working on the dessert as at this point we are waiting for them while they bake. Nonetheless, I think this is a good random example of our conversations.

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Laura: So if I want to make the custard filing, this is the ingredients you need: you need cornflour, which is cornstarch, and then custard powder, and sugar of course, milk, there’s a little bit of vanilla, and a carton of cream, it’s like half and half. Also, if I don’t understand something that it says on the recipe, I can go here on the back, and it says, I can look it up. If it says let’s say cornflour, it’s cornstarch. … Let’s say a self-rising flour, how you create that, … So if you have a recipe that calls for a self-rising flour, you put the amount that it tells you in for the flour, plus this.

Me: Ohhh.

Laura: And that is going to give you the self-rising flour.

Me: That’s handy.

Laura: Yeah. So I kind of like that too, the book for it. And it’s nice how, it helps, how the book explains it to you, how to do it.

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This dialogue begins with Laura going over the recipe for the custard filling of the cream puffs that we made. Then she explains some features of the book, followed by how she likes the book because of those features.

In reference to de Bono’s “six hats” theory, this conversation, along with most of my mentorship conversations, includes mainly the “white hat” form of conversation and thinking. Most of the time, we are specifically working on skills or in this case, reviewing a recipe, and Laura is giving me direct factual information about how to do something or why something works.

Additionally, in this conversation, Laura continues by discussing her personal feelings about this cookbook or resource. This part of the discussion, or her thinking here, could fall under the “red hat” category as she talks about her feelings, however her opinion is justified and she is seeing and looking for the benefits of the cookbook. Therefore, this portion of the discussion would be categorized as the “yellow hat” form.

 

Finally, I finished my week off with baking some cookies, just last night. We were out of cookies in our house, which is never a good thing, and so I decided to make possibly my favourite type that I’ve learnt. They are made of cake mix which gives them a very sweet flavour as well as a uniquely gooey texture inside. Then, they are filled with white and dark chocolate chips, as well as small chopped up, Oreo bits.

Despite our lacking of cookies, we are going away on Monday, so I didn’t want all the cookies we aren’t going to eat to go to waste. So I decided to take enough in for everyone in my TALONS class to have one. As a spring break treat! Well they were a hit, everyone loved them. In fact, I have had multiple requests to post the recipe on our group Facebook page. The sad news is, they have also been popular at home.

Do not fear, I got a picture of what was left a little earlier this evening!

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I know, it’s sad. Oh well, I’ll make more another time.

Here is a closer up image of the above discussed cookies so you can see the different parts:

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I very much enjoyed all my baking this week and I am looking forward to doing some more soon!

Hope you enjoyed all the treats!

And have a great spring break!

Thanks for reading and by for now,

Anne F.Y.

FitzGibbon’s Garrison – June/25/1813

Dear Diary,

I am writing on  a scrap piece of paper I asked an officer for, I said I needed it to pass time while I am greatly missing my family. I know it has only been a couple of days but I’m worried about all of them. I can just picture our little house in Queenstown now as I’m writing this, and all the children tucked into their beds. James will be taking good care of them: Mary, Charlotte, Harriet, Charles, and Appolonia. Oh Appolonia, she’s only three, oh I’m sure she’s well taken care of. We have a housewife helping too since James is still recovering from his injuries from the Battle of Queenstown Heights. He is still too unwell to go on any great outings, so it was up to me to deliver the message to the lieutenant. It was just our 16th anniversary a couple weeks ago on the 15th of June. James, if you can hear me, I love you. My love, I’ll see you by the dawn of the week’s end.

I’m hoping to be home very soon. FitzGibbon has arranged for me to have an Iroquois escort me back once more of the troops have returned from the battle. The men are still pouring into the garrison. I’ve been thanking them at meals and whenever I pass them in the corridors. I am so proud of them. The work they do for this colony is so remarkable. I don’t know why the Americans have so much against the British, we wouldn’t be here, in North America, without them. They’re the ones they have to thank for their land in the first place. The Patriots have always been so violent in their efforts. I remember when we used to live in Great Barrington growing up. Father was a patriot. He was so reckless in his militant actions. When he put his uniform on to go off to a battle, he was a different person. I’m glad we live here now, me and James and the kids. And all the horrible things they’re doing down there now to all those undervalued slaves, I can’t imagine living in that type of place.

I’m 37 now, so this walk wasn’t an easy journey. At times I’d say it was more of a run actually. I always used to love to run in Father’s fields, I’m not as young and spry as I was back then anymore though. It was so nice back then, we could just go and run outside. The kids wouldn’t be able to do that now, mind you, we live in the middle of an ever-changing  battlefield. It’s scary really.

I collapsed of exhaustion right after I arrived here, so I’m still recovering too. As I mentioned, the men are returning to the post still. A bunch of them just arrived. Troops from all around the area and many different groups of Indians were called together as soon as I told FitzGibbon of the Americans’ plan. Those Yanks need to be more careful about their after dinner topics when in a house of the enemy. They’d gone through about half of our stock of wine so their voices were getting quite raised. We were scared when they had barged into our house earlier in the day, but it turned out not such a bad thing.

James was worried still for me, of my journey, all on my own, he said it would take at least a day and I would have to be very careful so as not to be seen by the Americans when crossing back into British territory. But I was determined to go. I knew the message had to be delivered, and quickly!

I got here with the help of some Iroquois, just in time. Those boys went out and got ‘er done in the battlefield. We won! FitzGibbon has been back for quite a few hours now, and he keeps coming to thank me in my lodging.

Anyways, I’m running out of room on this paper. I’ve used up both sides but still have so much to say,  I’ll just have to wait to tell my love in a couple of days. Please take care, I love you, and I’ll be home soon, I promise. Pass this on to James for me, will you diary?

With all my heart,

love,

Laura Secord

The Story of The Slaves

After much deliberation, I rested my efforts on this article, or should I say timeline, shared by Nicole about the Canadian history and involvement with black slaves in North America. I have a lot of interest in Black rights around the world and so this resource caught my eye.

Whilst reading this extensive timeline, I developed a much greater understanding of some of the key events that occurred both within Canada and events that effected Canada surrounding black slavery during the 1815-1914 time period. I also gained knowledge of some new parts and elements of Canada’s black slave story that I found very interesting.

One element that really stood out to me, was the efforts of the Toronto Globe newspaper and its involvement with the slavery issue within its pages. Some of these notes directly “attacked” the American senator, as stated in the timeline:

” In the Toronto Globe, editor George Brown, one of Canada’s leading abolitionists, regularly commented on the disadvantaged condition of Blacks in North America. From its inception in 1844, the Globe gave anti-slavery forces a public forum, attacking United States senator Henry Clay, the Fugitive Slave Act, separate schools, and other issues.  “

It was interesting to find out, while reading this timeline, that Canada did in fact allow slaves legally until the year 1834, at which point a law was activated to abolish slaves within Canada once and for all. However, it was reassuring to me that Canada only held about 50 active slaves by that time. This means that Canada took early and proactive efforts to end black slavery without governmental forces. It is also so amazing to me that Canada was, and even still is, very far ahead of the United States in this area of rights.

Much of the timeline discussed how Canada was involved in freeing slaves of The United States, and how Canadians were taking part in actions towards freedom for black slaves in The United States, such as the Underground Railroad. Many mentions in the timeline were of refugee black slaves from America who immediately took hold of their own justice and fighting for those whom they had left behind once they arrived in Canada. Some of these included Henry Bibb, Josiah Henson, Mary Ann Shadd, J.T. Fisher, and more.

However, even though Canada is ahead of The States in certain aspects, as discussed in recent social studies classes, there are many other problems facing Canada the and now that are reasonably similar to those past of America. One of these may be the issue of rights and respect towards the Aboriginal peoples of Canada.

Another aspect of the article I found quite intriguing was British Columbia’s involvement in the black slave immigrations to Canada. This timeline gives the date of April 26th, 1858, as the first time wherein black slaves arrived in refuge in British Columbia.

” On the invitation of James Douglas, the governor of British Columbia, the first ship carrying Black Californians landed in Victoria on 26 April 1858. By summer’s end, more than 800 Black settlers had arrived. “

This is interesting as at this point in history, British Columbia was not officially part of Canada, further, Canada as a country had not yet been formed. Because of this I found it intriguing that B.C. was still involved as a refuge for American Black Slaves.

The largest and most impactful event mentioned in this timeline is the creation of the Fugitive Slave Act that occurred within the United States in 1850, Ultimately, this act allowed American slave-owners to chase, catch, and chastise any runaway slaves. Furthermore, I found it inspiring almost how this additionally impacted Canadian peoples on such a high level not necessarily physically, but emotionally. The timeline writes:

” The passage of the Fugitive Slave Act in the United States led to the formation of a larger and more durable antislavery society in Canada. “

This support and movement was largely due to the new influx of black former slaves now living in Canada. This shows the cultural impact on Canada during this time and how the American slave industry, per say, contributed to Canada’s identity as a country.

This is how this timeline relates to some of the Prescribed Learning Outcomes for Social Studies Grade Ten. This resource abundantly focuses on the outcomes discussed in section B. Some of the main outcomes this timeline addresses include:

Identity, Society, And Culture: Canada From 1815 to 1914

  • B1: Analyse Canadian society from 1815 to 1914 in terms of gender roles, ethnicity, daily life, and the arts
  • B3: Evaluate the influence of immigration on Canadian society from 1815 to 1914
  • B4: Describe the factors that contributed to a changing national identity from 1815 to 1914

I hope to expand on my knowledge of this area and issue in the coming Social Studies explorations. Check out this useful timeline yourself here and comment what you think!